Why We Crave Close Friends

Discovering Jesus in Genesis 1 can impact us in several ways.

First, the light dawns on who He really is.

How I remember Debbie in our Seeker’s Bible Study.

We had just read the opening of John’s thundering prologue:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

Debbie pressed her fingers to her temples and scrunched her eyes shut:

This is giving me a headache! I thought Jesus was born at Christmas! How could he have been there at the beginning if he was born at Christmas? I can’t wrap my head around this!”

I smiled and thought, She has a headache because she is in the birth canal.

I could hardly wait to see the joy that would be hers when she was birthed  from darkness into light.

Discovering Jesus in Genesis 1 is a surprise to many — but probably not to most of you.

But what might be a revelation to you is seeing how discovering Jesus in Genesis

helps us understand why we crave close friends.

Because we are made in the image of, not a monolithic God, but a relational Tri-une God, a desire for relationship is wired into our DNA.

This is why God created Eve for Adam, but this has to do not just with marriage, but our need for friends and fellowship.

When I moved to Door County, Wisconsin, to live year-round, my moving van arrived on November 1st — the day that this tourist community closes up for the autumn leaves that bring them by the thousands are gone.

Shops close, restaurants close, and the streets are as bare as the trees.

My village of Ephraim drops from thousands of hotel dwellers to this:

 

I drove the three miles to the Piggiy Wiggly and didn’t pass another car.

I went to the little church I’d always attended, a little church

bursting at the seams in the summer,

but now there were seven (I counted) people scattered in the pews.

What have I done? I am going to be a widow in the woods in the winter

dying of loneliness.

In the past, when I was just here summers, I was busy with family and guests. But now I needed a friend right where I lived.

So I did what I have learned to do in my many moves.

I asked God to give me a kindred spirit friend.

My sister Bonnie had told me about a year-round neighbor who had told her he enjoyed Eric Metaxis’ biography of Bonhoeffer. I thought:

I bet that he and his wife are believers.

So, before I biked to the cemetery, I prayed:

“Lord, if one of them happens to be outside, I will go up to them and introduce myself as a sister in Christ.”

As I approached their home, I saw that she was outside filling her bird-feeder!

I rejoiced, thinking it was an I SPY God at work in my life! 

I hopped off my bike and starting walking across her lawn when an icy stare

cooled my pace.

She thinks I’m a Jehovah’s Witness or selling something.

She’ll warm up as soon as I explain.

I started talking rapidly as I kept walking:

“Hi — my name is Dee. I just moved here year-round. You know my sister Bonnie Rock. I wanted to introduce myself.”

I put out my hand but she didn’t take it.

Awkwardly, I pulled my hand back.

Silence.

Stony stare.

Scary.

“Ah, umm,” I stuttered. “Well, my sister told me your husband liked the Bonhoeffer book

and it made me think we might share the same faith?”

“We do not.”

“Oh, I see. Ummm, sorry — my mistake.” Oh Jesus, help me get out of this with grace.

“I like to feed the birds too.” (So lame.)

Silence.

“I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

She willed me to leave with a silent glare. 

I turned and fled, jumped on my bike and pedaled as hard as I could.

I didn’t cry ’til I got out of sight.

Then I pulled off and sobbed.

Lord, what was that about?

I still don’t know. But since studying The Song of Songs,

I do know that sometimes God hides to test and to try us.

 

So, I was going ot pass the test and keep on reaching out until God granted me my 

heart’s desire. I know that it is God’s will for me to be in community, for He said “it is not good for man to be alone,” and he said, “do not forsake gathering together.”

I should not give up seeking fellowship

any more than a hungry man should give up trying to find food.

I knew if I gave up, my life would be dark and lonely, like the turtle who stuck his head out in a hail storm and decided to never try that again.

Pulling your head in may feel safe, but it’s not.

We need people as much as we need food and water.

I would trust God though He was hiding and wait for Him to leap out and surprise me.

And oh, He did.

He gave me Twila, and that led to a church plant, and new sisters in Christ, like Debbie,

and always through you, my blog sisters, who indeed, have become friends!

This week we will look at Jesus in Genesis 1, and I also want you to think about a time when you SPIED GOD through an obvious answer to prayer — perhaps in friendship!

I’ve a story to tell, and I hope you will remember one too,

and also be on the look-out for more I SPY GOD INSTANCES each day.

SUNDAY

1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?

2. Do you crave fellowship? If so, how do you know? If so, what have you done about it that helped?

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

We know from John 1 that Jesus was with God at the beginning creating the world. I want you to watch this video carefully and see if you can spy the Trinity in the beginning, and again, when God chooses to create man.

3. Can you see the Trinity? If so, how?

4. Can you think of another time in the gospels when the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters and you could see the Trinity? If so, where?

5. For those of you who were with us in the study on the Trinity, why does the Trinity reveal that our God is a God of love in contrast to single person gods.

6. Have you “spied” God in any way in the last couple of days?

7. Notice the pronouns in Genesis 1:26. What light does this give you?

8. Before God created Eve, Adam walked with God — yet still, what does God say in Genesis 2:18? What does this tell you?

9. This doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to friendship and to fellowship. If you have tried to reach out and had an experience like I did, how could you speak to your soul so that you don’t give up?

10. This is also why Jesus came to establish the church. We need one another for so many reasons.  Watch this two minute trailer to a sermon by Tim Keller on the church and comment:

http://www.gospelinlife.com/sermons/the-church-9722

11. What are some ways to take risks in friendship based on faith? How should you respond if initial efforts fail and why?

THURSDAY-FRIDAY: GOD HUNT

One of the ways to spy God in our God Hunt is an obvious answer to prayer. I thought it might be fun to share answers to prayer in regard to friendship this week. I’ve got one that involves a blog sister.

Rebecca was one of the first to join the blog many years ago. I could not help but notice how conscientious she was in getting on early each morning and doing her Bible study. I also noticed the hunger she had for God. The more I learned about her, the more impressed I was with her. She also happened to be living in Kansas City, where I was living at the time. So we were able to meet face to face.

I have had a checkered history with administrative assistants, because I was blind to my control idol. But God illumined me and brought me to true repentance. (I share that story in Idol Lies.) Rebecca joined my pilot study of Idol Lies before it was ever published. I had been praying for God to show me someone who could be my administrative assistant, and I felt led to ask this woman who had demonstrated her character and discipline. But she lacked confidence and turned me down. However, in my spirit, I sensed she could do it, so I persisted. She finally agreed and she has been with me all this time, and has been absolutely wonderful. She has also become a dear, dear friend — and in fact, will bring her whole family, for the first time, to visit me in Ephraim this week. Rebecca is my obvious answer to prayer not just for the ministry, but for friendship. I love this picture taken of Rebecca on our cruise, for it shows her reflective heart. I know she’s a gift, not just to me, but to each of you. Truly we have a wonderful sisterhood here because we have women like Rebecca.

12, Can you share an obvious answer to prayer in friendship? On this blog or in your corner of the world?

 

13. Have you had any other “I Spy God!” instances this week?

SATURDAY

14. What is your take-a-way and why?

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12.  Can you share an obvious answer to prayer in friendship? On this blog or in your corner of the world?
In preparation for our trip to Louisville, I’ve been scouting the internet for any information about the city. And there was so much! So I was praying to God for the ability to sift through the myriad of information. I “happened” to share it with an older friend who attends a bible study I am leading. And what do you know? She was from Louisville originally and still has family there. Oh, boy! Wasn’t that nifty? She gave me the 411 of the city and had great suggestions where to eat and sights to see. And in the process, I got to know here some more (she attends a different church).
 
13. Have you had any other “I Spy God!” instances this week?
 
I spy God in my answer to #12. This same lady offered to bring coffee cake to the first meeting of our bible study. When she called me that week, I was still trying to figure out a time to bake something for our meeting. What a load she took off me although I could have picked up something from the store. And her cake was scrumptious. I spy God!

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Yes Tim Keller’s words were bold & true. I really hadn’t ever thought that Jesus came to create the church, but of course it makes sense. I need to be more intentional about staying connected to my church, especially in summer when I’m not in my regular Bible Study group & not getting that fellowship. Its easy to run dry, & I need to remember that I am a vital part of my church & we need eachother. I’ve had a lovely week with my oldest son here, & now my youngest is with us. Between that & work I’ve been pretty busy, so haven’t been blogging much. Hoping to do better with this when things settle down again  :)

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